The Party Kit
For your first murder mystery party, look for a game that isn’t too complicated. Before you select a game, read the introductory file (if provided). This has information such as the host guide and other game details that will give you a good feel for how it will work.
There are many themed murder mystery party kits online for purchase. Plan to spend between $20 - $75 per boxed kit, or search online for downloadable versions. I love the title of this kit, available on Amazon.com for just $19: Passion, Pasta, & Pistols!
There are also free options available, such as these, with games like The Pungent Pumpkin Poisoner and Sour Grapes of Wrath.
Game Prep & Play
Once you’ve purchased your game, read all of the preparation material. Your kit will likely provide you with murder mystery party theme ideas about everything from menu, recipes, and decorations to hairstyles, music, and costumes.
As the host, you’ll assign each guest a character and provide details about them, including what costume they should wear. You can include this information in your party invitations. Because you’re assigning characters, you must insist all your guests RSVP -- you wouldn’t want your murderer to be a no-show! Encourage your guests to arrive early; all guests need to be in place to begin the party.
Decide if you want your murder mystery party to be a sit down affair, a buffet-style meal, or simply light appetizers. This will determine the flow of your guest interaction in trying to get clues from each other about the murder. If you have a sit-down dinner, plan your number of food courses around the number of clues your guests will examine.
Budget about 2 1/2 hours for this type of event, although it could go longer if you want to extend the game through dessert and drinks.
Keep your game notes on hand at dinner. If you use a downloaded game, print an extra set of instructions to have with you, aside from the character packets you’ve prepared for your guests. Have a prize ready for your game winner -- the Super Sleuth! You can also have prizes for Best Costume and Best Performer.
Your murder mystery party kit will have suggestions for your food and fare, but you can show your own flare in the menu, too.
Prepare cocktails that relate to the murder mystery theme, such as Bloody Mary, Red Rum, or this Absinthe drink called Death in the Afternoon. For a non-alcoholic option, try serving a strawberries and champagne Celebration tea.
For your entrée, use your favorite recipes and rename them to match your party theme. Try titles like Murderous Meatloaf and Killer Beef Kabobs, or Femme Fatale Fajitas. For a cool weather murder mystery party, whip up one of these hearty Spanish stews but rename it something like Spanish Inquisition Soup or Stewing Over Murder.
For dessert, check out this recipe for Dark Chocolate Cherry Black Bean Brownies paired with Port, better known for your evening as “Death by Chocolate with Blood Port Drizzle.”
With these ideas and a shot of your own creativity, you now know how to do a murder mystery party that will be murderously memorable for your guests. Enjoy!